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Relationships of Parenting Practices, Independent Learning, Achievement, and Family Structure
Murphy, Pamela Ford
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An independent learner is one who actively takes responsibility for his or her own acquisition of knowledge, skills, and expertise. The capacity to self-regulate oneâ s own learning is a necessity for success in higher education. Researchers have found that characteristics of independent learners begin to emerge in young children and continue to develop throughout childhood and adolescence as students grow into self-governing adults. The purpose of this study is to assess studentsâ levels of independent learning attitudes and behaviors and to examine the relationships among parentsâ actions, family structure, independent learning, and academic achievement. Using a national sample of 10th grade students from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, several statistical analyses were performed in order to answer these research questions: 1. How do parentsâ actions relate to childrenâ s independent learning characteristics? 2. How do studentsâ independent learning behaviors and attitudes correlate with their academic achievement? 3. How are parentsâ actions associated with their childrenâ s academic achievement? 4. Are single-parent children less likely to have developed characteristics of independent learning by grade 10 than children living with both of their parents? Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to arrange the available variables into appropriate subscales to be used in the statistical procedures for this study. Canonical correlations were used to measure the magnitude of relationships between three pairs of concepts: parentsâ actions and studentsâ independent learning; studentsâ independent learning and academic achievement; and parentsâ actions and studentsâ academic achievement. Structural equation modeling was employed to test the hypothesized model of relationships among parentsâ actions, studentsâ independent learning behaviors, and academic achievement. Finally, multivariate analysis of variance was used to compare the independent learning scores of students living in four different family structures to determine if a significant difference in the development of independent learning between groups exists. Results suggest actions that parents can take to help their children develop as independent learners and succeed in the academic realm.
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